As already stated…everyone will have a different opinion, here’s mine:
First off, there’s a big difference in punching paper or hunting game. You either buy the best scope for one or the other, or you compromise.
In your price range I really like Vortex, Nikon, and Hawke.
For hunting coyotes I really like a magnification in a 2-7 power, a straight 3 or 4 power, or even a 4-12 power with adjustable objective on the variable power scopes.
I really like to keep my scope dialed into the 2-3 power range while calling or stalking. This gives me the best opportunity to take a snap shot at close range, and allows me to “dial up” for a “long range” shot if I spot one way out there (2-300 yards for me with my AR) most of the time I just run the straight 3 power, but being able to dial up to I.D. or spot a critter out there a little further is pretty convenient.
For a reticle, I’d advise keeping it simple. Some BDC reticles are really good, some can get very cluttered and obscure a lot of your view. Mildot is Okay, but it takes a lot of work and practice to use it correctly. I like a good duplex or line/bar style BDC like you find in the Nikon P223 for the AR. I really like the shotgun reticle too. I use a 2-7 power on one of my coyote guns, and it works well. There’s a ton more info I could go into, but I’ll stop there…and paper punching is a whole different game with different requirements.